Braves News: Atlanta signs 2021 AL batting title winner to minor league deal

Alex Anthopoulos has brought in more depth at the corner infield position. This time in the form of a recent AL batting champ.
Oakland Athletics v Miami Marlins
Oakland Athletics v Miami Marlins / Jasen Vinlove/Miami Marlins/GettyImages

Matt Olson has been an ironman over at first base for much of his career, but that didn't stop the Braves from adding to their corner infield depth. In a recent move, Alex Anthopoulos has signed first baseman Yuli Gurriel to a minor league contract and is expected to be assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Braves bring in former batting champ

Gurriel has been a pretty solid big league hitter for much of his eight-year career. Most of his best seasons came with the team he debuted with, the Houston Astros. Baseball fans will remember him winning the 2021 AL batting title with a slash line that season of .319/.383/.462.

Gurriel finished his time with Houston in 2022 with a subpar season in which he slugged just .360. He swapped uniforms for the first time in 2023, suiting up for the Miami Marlins. However, his numbers were much of the same, with his slugging percentage coming out to .359, and a wRC+ of 77.

In 2024, Gurriel is expected to spend all his time in Gwinnett, barring an injury to Matt Olson. However, the Braves first baseman has played in every game since coming from Oakland. Despite Olson's ability to post-up every day, Anthopoulos made a move similar to this last season when he signed former Marlin, Jesus Aguilar to a minor league deal.

Aguilar played in 59 games for Gwinnett last season, but did not return with the Braves as he elected for free agency this offseason. Gurriel profiles similar to Aguilar in what type of role he is expected to play for the Braves. This is move that great GM's like Anthopoulos make regularly, but also a move that Braves fans hope to not give much more thought. As long as their star first baseman Matt Olson continues to be great and durable, fans will likely forget Gurriel was ever in the organization.

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